July 19, 2013 |
Health insurance giant Anthem Blue Cross said it won't participate in California's new insurance market for small businesses. Anthem, a unit of WellPoint Inc., is California's largest insurer for small employers. This surprising move could hamper the state's ability to enroll businesses in its new exchange called Covered California that opens Jan. 1 as part of the federal healthcare law. Instead, Anthem said it will keep selling coverage to small firms outside the exchange in direct competition with the state-run market.
July 19, 2013 |
Let's get this out of the way right up front: I feel like a guy who's continually making excuses for a friend who repeatedly messes up. For supporters (such as myself) of the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare, Friday presented another occasion to make excuses. This time it was the stunning news that Anthem Blue Cross will not offer group plans to small employers through a new, subsidized marketplace being set up by Covered California -- at least not in the exchange's first year.
July 4, 2013
Re "Tough to beat care in health system," Column, July 2 David Lazarus' wife spent eight nights in the intensive care unit of the UCLA Medical Center. Last year, my wife went into a coma at home. I was able to quickly and safely transport her the two miles to the local emergency room, where an MRI scan revealed a problem that required a neurological ICU unit. UCLA refused the transfer, but Cedars-Sinai accepted her. Four days in the ICU and a fifth elsewhere in the wards resulted in a hospital charge of $162,000, which was reimbursed by Medicare for $120,000.
June 23, 2013 |
When the California Public Employees' Retirement System told its Anthem Blue Cross members it would pay only up to $30,000 for a knee or hip replacement surgery, some patients shopped around for a cheaper hospital. What may be more surprising is that about 40 higher-priced hospitals in the state cut their surgery prices significantly to avoid losing patients. That response accounted for about 85% of the $5.5 million CalPERS saved over two years, researchers at UC Berkeley found, with the rest of the savings coming from patients opting for lower-cost hospitals.
June 18, 2013 |
Blue Shield of California, already facing a Los Angeles ethics complaint over potential conflicts of interest, is poised to take a lucrative health insurance contract for city workers away from rival Anthem Blue Cross. The proposed three-year deal is still subject to approval by L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. Under Blue Shield's offer, the city would pay 2% more, or $112 million, in premiums next year for these HMO and PPO plans. That was nearly $9 million less than Anthem's $121-million bid, which represented a 10% increase over the current year.
June 13, 2013 |
California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones wants industry giant Anthem Blue Cross barred from the state's new health exchange for small businesses because he says the company imposes excessive rate hikes. Jones said the state's largest for-profit health insurer should be denied access to the state-run market where thousands of small employers will purchase health coverage for their workers. Covered California, the state agency implementing the federal healthcare law, said it would consider the commissioner's request alongside many other factors in deciding which insurers to pick.
June 13, 2013 |
California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones, in an unusual move, wants Anthem Blue Cross barred from the state's new health exchange for small businesses because of the company's excessive rate hikes in the past. Thursday, Jones asked Covered California, the state agency implementing the federal healthcare law, to prevent Anthem Blue Cross from participating in a new market for employers with fewer than 50 workers. "I have determined Anthem Blue Cross has had a practice of excessive or unjustified rate increases," Jones said.
June 4, 2013 |
Blue Shield of California owes $24.5 million in rebates to thousands of small-business customers, and rival Anthem Blue Cross will return $12 million to small firms under requirements of the federal healthcare law. The annual rebates were disclosed in reports to state regulators, and the final tally from some companies may change before they are paid out by Aug. 1. The rebate is required under the federal Affordable Care Act when insurers fail...
May 22, 2013 |
Some prominent health insurers, including industry giant UnitedHealth Group Inc., are not participating in California's new state-run health insurance market, possibly limiting the number of choices for millions of consumers. UnitedHealth, the nation's largest private insurer, Aetna Inc. and Cigna Corp. are sitting out the first year of Covered California, the state's insurance exchange and a key testing ground nationally for a massive coverage expansion under the federal healthcare law. Meanwhile, the biggest insurers in the state - Kaiser Permanente, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield of California - are all expected to participate in the state-run market for individual health coverage.
April 26, 2013 |
WASHINGTON -- The U.S. might not hit its debt limit until October because of improved economic growth and higher tax revenue this year, according to a new estimate released Friday. The projection by the Bipartisan Policy Center would give Congress and the White House more time to wrestle with the politically volatile issue. The U.S. technically will need to raise the debt limit again next month, but the Treasury Department is expected to take steps to buy additional time.